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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  May 12, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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this legislation through congress without being truthful about its full impact on the nation's finances. republicans are fighting to repeal this job-killing health care law and replace it with reforms focused on lowering costs and protecting american jobs. nbc's luke russert live on capitol hill with more on this. good afternoon to you. >> reporter: good afternoon, jeff. absolutely fascinating news from the cbo today that says that the president obama's democratic health care overhaul could go well north of that unofficial $1 trillion buffer. he didn't want to break that number. it was to cost $938 billion. the additional spending though it would be discretionary spending could push it well north of that number. what is in this spending, jeff? there are three things. there is 10 to 20 billion for administrative costs, 34 billion for community health centers, and 39 billion for indian health care. apparently was left out of the first time this thing was scored was because it was discretionary
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and congress actually has to move in order to fund it. so there is a chance it could not be funded at all. that being said when something like this is promised in the bill, especially the community health centers and indian health care, most likely it will be funded and it will cost the american taxpayer. republicans are saying as you said, we told you so. i spoke to one republican that said back in january we wanted the democrats to slow down and they went ahead and jammed this through. that is why we're seeing this today. but other republicans i spoke to said the 115 billion could be just the bare minimum. that, in fact, there could be all sorts of new spending as a result of this law, something we have to keep an eye on. the white house is saying president obama will veto other domestic programs if this spending continues to rise. >> think about the americans possibly on the fence about this health care reform overhaul bill to begin with. this really adds fuel to the fire. how big of a blow is this to the white house? >> it's going to be interesting to see ek axactly how this play
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out. on its face this doesn't look good because you're breaking the pledge of not costing more than a trillion dollars. the other thing that got a lot of folks onboard with this was health care reform would lower the budget deficit overall in the next ten years by about $143 billion. that was the estimate if this bill was passed. if this $115 billion goes onto that it almost wipes out all of the savings that were supposed to occur towards the deficit. it's something that a lot of fiscally conservative democrats and republicans are having a problem with today. >> nbc's luke russert on the hill. thanks so much. >> take care. the white house is rushing to quell any controversy over supreme court nominee elena kagan's record of hiring minorities while she was dean of the harvard law school. she was dean from 2003 until 2009. during that time 29 faculty members were hired. 28 of them were white and one was asian american. now some civil rights groups are voicing concern over kagan's lack of diversity and questioning whether or not her record would impact her opinions
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on the high court. let's get more now from boyce watkins a professor and resident scholar at my alma mater syracuse university and a contributor. good to see you, boyce. >> thank you for having me. >> i want to read you something that one of kagan's colleagues wrote, from harvard professor randall kennedy. he has actually come to her defense saying recently, i'm quoting here, i found her judgments to be eminently sensible. she sought to increase the pool of minority candidates available for serious consideration for faculty positions at the nation's law schools. she strongly embraces equality before the law and will defend that central value stalwartly in the years to come. do you agree? >> no, i don't agree. i think that that is one harvard colleague defending another. and working to further solidify the political power of the harvard law school which i think has too much representation on the supreme court. in fact, if kagan is elected will have a complete harvard/yale monopoly on the supreme court which is
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absolutely atrocious for the 99.9% of other americans who don't get a chance to go to harvard and yale. what i will say is that, again, this is with all due respect to those individuals at harvard and yale but the truth is that when you hire 29 people and 28 of those people are white, that is an incredibly ignorant and myopic way of hiring people. the fact that she didn't have the strength to step forward as dean of the law school and fight for the rights of black and brown people simply says we have no reason to support her. >> what does it say that an african-american president is the one who nominated her? clearly, it's not bothering him. >> again, this is his loyalty to his harvard base. this goes beyond race. remember if you look at kagan's record she has connections to the university of chicago and harvard university and that pretty much is what puts her in obama's corner in my opinion. if you look at her record of hiring as the dean of harvard law school, if you look at her record of hiring as solicitor general of the united states government, she never hired a single black and brown person during the time that she was there. at least at harvard we were
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talking about tenured faculty positions, the only ones that actually matter. the proof is in the potato salad. i respect president obama's opinion but at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing in her record i can say as a black man that would make me want to support her for the supreme court. >> what does race have to do with being a judge? i mean a supreme court justice is there to interpret the law, interpret the constitution. how important is this? is it a factor at all really? >> race is incredibly important. we live in a country that has been divided by race for the last 400 years. the nation that we live in is -- has racism ingrained in the very fabric of its existence. if you look at every inch of the ideological spectrum. quality of life indicator you see black people are on the bottom rung of those indicators. that's not just a civil rights issue but also a human rights violation. when you talk about employment, education, criminal justice, everything else we're at the bottom rung so the truth is that race certainly matters in america and we'd be a little bit
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silly if we didn't think that to be the case. >> boyce watkins of syracuse university and thanks so much for your time today. >> thank you for having me. president obama welcomed afghan president hamid karzai to the white house today for meetings in advance of a nato military offensive in kandahar. the u.s. has pulled back on criticism of karzai and is throwing support behind him in advance of his participation in critical peace talks in afghanistan. during a joint press conference today president obama stressed the importance of success in the war. >> whether afghanistan succeeds in this effort will have consequences for the united states and consequences for the entire world. as we've seen in recent plots here in the united states, al qaeda and its extremist allies continue to plot in the border regions between afghanistan and pakistan. and a growing taliban insurgenciy could mean an even larger safe haven for al qaeda and its affiliates. >> by the end of august
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president obama's troop surge will bring the number of americans fighting in afghanistan to 98,000. a bomb attack killed people on tuesday. over 2500 have been wounded since the start of this war nine years ago. police have arrested an american egyptian man at cairo's airport. officials say they found several weapons in his luggage yesterday. the passenger arrived in cairo on an egypt air flight from new york's jfk airport. officials say they found two hand guns, 250 bullets, several swords, dagers, and knives. now we'll turn to that horrific plane crash this morning in libya. 104 passengers were onboard the airbus a330 from south africa when it crashed while trying to land at an airport in tripoli. all passengers onboard were killed except for one. miraculously, a young dutch boy survived. terrorism has been ruled out so far as a possible cause of the
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crash. officials have recovered both black boxes from the site and they are now investigating the cause. a so-called top hat is the latest hope to stop the rush of oil flowing into the gulf of mexico. the coast guard is holding a news conference right now. we're going to bring you the latest from that conference in a moment. then the tea party takes on the gop establishment. could kentucky be the tea party's next big victory? and rookie isn't usually something you call a 53-year-old man but that's just what joseph pierce is. hear how the st. louis pd's oldest rookie is running circles around some of the younger cadets.
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welcome back. at 13 minutes past the hour, president obama says he welcomes a new bill unveiled by senators john kerry and joe lieberman
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today. senator lindsay graham wasn't there. he pulled his support in a dispute over immigration reform. the bill includes an expansion of offshore drilling but it allows states to veto offshore drilling if they can prove their state would be hurt by an accident like that massive spill in the gulf. now we want to get you to the very latest developments on that oil disaster happening in the gulf coast. a second smaller dome called the top hat fix has been placed on the sea floor. crews are now moving slowly to place it over the leaking well, hoping to avoid some of the problems that caused their first fix attempt to fail. meantime, a house panel investigating the accident turned up several problems, including evidence that the rig's blowout preventer rig had a hydraulic system leak. right now bp is holding its daily briefing at the command center. nbc's thanh truong is following this live from dauphin island, alabama. good afternoon. >> reporter: hey there. one of the headlines out of that news conference is that the half dozen tar balls they found here
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on dauphin island over the weekend did test positive. lsu scientists did test those tar balls to be positive originating from that oil spill. you can see how far that impact is and how it traveled east here. here on dauphin island they're continuing to fortify the beaches with these large containers and these are large boxes that are lining the beaches here. you can see the empty space. the purpose is in case the oil sheen or slick does make its way here onto shore what they'll do is place these food grate polymers as in this cup right here. this is a mix of diesel and water and it won't come in, the experts we consult, it won't come in as thick but if you put this on here this solidifier is supposed to suck out all of the diesel and the petroleum or oil products that would be in the water. as you mix it up you start seeing how it congeals and solidifies. and so the idea here is that by
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putting this compound, this powder, this solidifier or whatever you'd like to call it, you see how it mixes up there. you can just scoop it out and it's going to make the cleanup much easier. they don't anticipate that type of impact or oil sheen to make its way here. this is a very dramatic example but they have about 14,000 pounds of this powder here ready to go. this is contracted with bp. the state of alabama brought in this kentucky-based company to have this powder at the ready just in case this area sees the impact. they are hoping it doesn't. >> is there any time line about how long this would take? there's a lot of oil there. >> reporter: there is a lot of oil. at this point they are anticipating if this thing does make its way here to dauphin island it would be at least friday until they start seeing any impacts but they don't anticipate it being this dramatic.
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it would have to be a lot of oil coming this way. >> fascinating. nbc's thanh truong reporting live from dauphin island, alabama. thanks. time to go across the usa now, first to ohio where a recall is under way for the push around and whisper ride buggies. the consumer products safety commission says the step 2 company is recalling the toys after 26 children were hurt when the handles came off. next to illinois where drew peterson is selling his harley davidson motorcycle on ebay apparently in an effort to raise money for his upcoming defense. the asking price for the hog? $50,000. peterson has even offered to autograph it. he is awaiting his june trial in jail on $20 million bond. he is accused of killing his third wife, kathleen savio, in 2004. finally, to texas where a high school star basketball player has been revealed to really be a 22-year-old man. the suspect apparently graduated from a florida high school in 2007 but then recently enrolled
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in a texas high school as a sophomore. who would want to go back to high school? he was arrested on charges of presenting false identification to an officer. all right. it's not often a 53-year-old man hears colleagues yell, hey rookie. but now joseph pierce has graduated the st. louis police academy and it is something he'll be hearing a lot. as one of the oldest ever to join the force officer joseph pierce, the rookie, is joining us live from st. louis. >> hi. >> how you doing, officer? >> good. how you doing, jeff? >> very good. thank you. at 53 years old why did you want to join the police force now? >> well, it's kind of a long story but i like helping people and i was in between jobs and a friend of mine, a really good friend who is a bike patrol officer here in st. louis said i'd make a good cop and she recommended that i apply at the academy. >> so you're running circles around the younger guys yet?
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>> i have been for six months, yes. >> nice. i'm sure they're watching right now and appreciate that. have they warned you about some of the -- st. louis is a beautiful city, been there several times, but there are some tough areas there. >> yeah. >> have your officers prepared you for what could be the worst there? >> yes, they have. actually the training, the six-month training did a lot of the preparing for it. >> so what is the dynamic like? i mean, do they call you rookie? are they teasing you a lot about all this? >> well, they haven't called me rookie yet. it's mainly grandpa or joe pop or something like that. >> rookie would be a compliment compared to that. >> yeah. right. >> is there an age limit to be a police officer there? >> the only age limit i'm aware of is, well, there are two. one 21 to enlist, and the second one is 65. you have to retire at 65. so i'm sure at some point they wouldn't take you if you were
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about 60 years old or something. >> are you going to ride it out? >> as long as you can pass the physical. yes, yes i am. my plans are to go all the way. >> beautiful. don't let them call you grandpa. let them call you rookie but not grandpa. >> no. they can call me anything they want if i run faster than them. >> exactly. in your dust they can call you that. officer joseph pierce. >> right. >> the st. louis police department. congratulations and be careful. >> thank you. >> thanks so much. all right. time for the battle of the late night jokes. two hosts, one topic. you decide who had the best line of the night. this topic we're talking about now is the big oil spill cleanup. take a look and judge. >> now using a special containment dome called the top hat that's shooting meth noll into the oil leak. a top hat that can shoot methanol doesn't sound like an emergency device but something lady gaga would wear. >> i heard one guy say today it is a good thing actually because now when you open a clam the
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hinge doesn't squeak. time for the "your business entrepreneur of the week." as a musician, tisch says it was tougher for women than men in l.a.'s music scene. she wanted that to change and to inspire girls to pick up an instrument and so she created the daisy rock line of guitars for girls. it's now sold more than 175,000 guitars. for more watch "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc.
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my name is chef michael. and when i come home from my restaurant, i love showing bailey how special she is. yes, you are. i know exactly what you love, don't i? - [ barks ] - mmm. aromas like rotisserie chicken. and filet mignon. yeah, that's what inspired a very special dry dog food. [ woman ] introducing chef michael's canine creations. so tasty and nutritious it's hard to believe it's dry dog food. chef-inspired. dog-desired. chef michael's canine creations.
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welcome back. at 23 minutes past the hour it's a bad year to be an incumbent member of congress running for re-election. for pennsylvania senator arlen specter, the fact that he's now a democrat after spending years as a republican may make his bid even more difficult. a new quinnipiac poll shows him in a dead wheheat with congress joe sestak. today specter told our own andrea mitchell right here on msnbc that even during his years as a republican he often voted with the democrats. and he expects that to help him in this race. >> i support a woman's right to choose. i led the fight against warrantless wiretappings, against guantanamo, in favor of raising the minimum wage. so i have been well received by
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the democrats. >> utah senator bob bennett saw a similar plummet in the polls and just last weekend failed to win enough delegates in his state's republican convention to advance to the primary. conservatives and tea party supporters rejected his bid. sarah palin had so much success as a rookie author that she is taking another swing at it. palin's newest book is in the works right now. it's called "america by heart, reflections on family, faith, and flag." alaska's former governor says this book was inspired by thousands of every day americans, in her words. it's said to hit shelves on november 23rd one year after the release of her best selling campaign memoir, "going rogue." i got into one of the best schools in the country! [ both screaming ] i got into one of the most expensive schools in the country!
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we are back with breaking news just coming into our newsroom now. the los angeles city council has now approved an economic boycott of arizona. it hopes to pressure the state into repealing the tough new immigration law. the city council suspended all
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travel to arizona for l.a. city business and directed department heads not to enter into contracts with companies headquartered in arizona when legally and fiscally possible. so once again the fallout continues from the immigration bill and now the l.a. city council is getting involved. want to turn now to hampton pearson from cnbc with our daily market wrap. hi, hampton. >> hey, jeff. we want to begin briefly by taking a look at how stocks are doing today. first of all right now looking at the dow it is up 145 points. the s&p 15 points. the nasdaq up almost 48 points. also the new addition of microsoft's office is hitting shelves today and this time around the company is offering a version that can be found on the internet for free. the new web-based edition can be accessed from my computer. office 2010 will be available in stores or on the web in june. gold prices have hit an all-time record high as investors remain
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jittery about the euro and greece's debt crisis. gold rose just over $1,245 today with the demand reportedly so high supplies are struggling to keep up. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide. jeff, back to you. >> hampton, good to see you. thanks. first shock, now confusion surrounds the mysterious death of a young, beautiful lpga golfer erica blasburg. her body was found in her home near las vegas on sunday after someone called 911. investigators haven't said who made the call and they also haven't said what caused her death. >> reporter: jeff, good afternoon. on sunday not far from the vegas strip here police received a 911 call from erica blasburg's home. the discovery of her body kicked off an investigation that continues to baffle detectives. erica blasburg had the swing of a golf champion. the beauty and grace of a model and a bright future filled with endless potential.
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but this week the 25-year-old professional golfer was found dead inside her las vegas area home. the shocking discovery a mystery to police who have not yet named an official cause of death. >> people are just shocked. it was an absolute shock to everybody. i think everybody is just confused and sad. >> reporter: in published reports her father insists erica did not take her own life. her family says their daughter was in good spirits this past weekend, even packed her car for an upcoming tournament despite recent struggles on the lpga tour. >> hello. it's me. >> reporter: a golf protege at a young age erica had a natural swing that made her a champion by the time she reached college. ranked number one in the country while at the university of arizona, her sophomore year she turned pro. endorsement deals quickly followed. but while she enjoyed a slice of fame, erica also struggled with her game. the former college player of the
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year never finished higher than 94th on the pro money list. on tour, some say she was reserved, quiet, kept to herself. a different erica from those who knew the bright smile and big swing. >> she had a smile that could light up the room. on the golf course she was a fiery competitor. she loved to compete. >> reporter: police have kept tight lipped about this investigation. they have not named the person who discovered erica's body or what was found inside her home. the autopsy could take several weeks to perform. jeff? >> thanks. want to bring in nbc news analyst clint van zandt a former fbi profiler. clint, good afternoon. >> hi, jeff. >> erica's father says this is something very, very strange going on here. what do you make of the fact that police haven't released anything about her death? >> well, i think the police are being very careful. you've got the normal, what you have to look at and what we call an equivocable death
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investigation. homicide, suicide, accident, natural causes. i think all of those are open for the police right now but from what we know, jeff, there is no indication the house was broken into. there is no indication that a struggle took place between the victim and some unknown assailant. there is no obvious bullet wounds, knife wounds. there is no indication of hemorrhaging, you know, if you watch "csi" on television that's spots that show up in the eye or on the face where blood vessels burst. there is no indication from the medical examiner that the hyoid bone, this little u-shaped bone that sits under the tongue, that's usually broken if someone is strangled. none of those have we been told are in evidence yet. and what's also interesting, jeff, is that law enforcement say it'll take four to six weeks. well, they're waiting for the toxicology, waiting to find out if there was any drugs, any other foreign substances in her
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that might account for her death, which could either be accidental -- we know for example, keith ledger, heath ledger died after a combination of six different drugs. he was taken fing them for depression, insomnia, pain. or it could be intentional. we just don't know. law enforcement has to be very cautious. if you're the parent of a child and i know such parents whose child has committed suicide, you don't necessarily want to bring that up right away because in all honesty, jeff, if you acknowledge that, you sometimes suggest that maybe you should have seen it coming. maybe you should have been there to save that child. so you hold that until you actually find out that that's the truth. >> we shouldn't forget here i guess that she was in a very competitive sport and she was really, frankly speaking, struggling in that sport. as miguel mentioned never finished higher than 94th on the money list. just two weeks ago at a tour in
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mexico finished and tied for 44th place and so as you've seen over the years, clinlt, people who are in these high stress situations can end up taking their own lives and are more susceptible to it. >> jeff, 35,000 people a year commit suicide in the united states. a million attempt it. that's one suicide every 16 minutes. women, unfortunately, commit suicide at a rate about three times the number of men that do it. her particular case, her father also had indicated she was so challenged with her game last year that she thought about quitting golf. is that a reason in itself to commit suicide? jeff, unfortunately for those 35,000 people every year their reasons are probably not very good either. >> should we read much into the fact that police aren't saying much, aren't telling us who made the 911 call? is really everything still on the table or do you think a decision has been made this soon after the investigation? >> were i involved in the case,
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i would not be releasing that person's name. it could just be, you know, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a family member of the victim who just came by, you know, she was supposed to be on a plane sunday afternoon and whoever this person is, they came in the house and found her dead in the bed and made the 911 call. they may just be protecting that person's privacy so i think we have to be careful and not reading too much into that until law enforcement finishes their investigation. >> right. we should mention we don't know if this is suicide, we don't know if this is homicide at this point. >> absolutely. homicide, suicide, accident, natural causes, right now, jeff, it's number five which is unknown. >> exactly. you know, her mother said she knew something was wrong when she didn't call on mother's day. just a sad story whatever the case may be. thanks for your time. now we turn to the fastest three minutes in news and go down to the wire with dramatic video from this week's tornadoes and a warning to work-a-holics. luckily we have none of those around here. ah, hit the clock. here we go.
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there is more storms in store for the heartland tonight. neighbors in oklahoma and kansas are bracing for another round of severe weather, still cleaning up from a deadly outbreak of tornadoes there. this new storm system could bring thunderstorms, heavy rain, and possibly even more tornadoes. and check this amazing video out captured during monday's storms. a news helicopter capturing the scene as the weather caused a van to spin out and flip over on an oklahoma highway. the driver was lucky enough to get out of the van unhurt and wait out the rough weather in a nearby storm drain. that volcano in iceland continues to cause problems, ash reaching now to north africa. ten airports are shut down in morocco until at least tomorrow morning. experts say the ash will continue to travel and cause headaches until the eruptions stop. in norway workers are digging a new tunnel out of a glacier. don't worry. no drivers have to go through the tunnel. it'll serve as an exhibition hall where visitors can learn about climate change.
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a geezer bandit is on the loose in san diego. look at him. police say the man is about 60 to 70 years old believed to have robbed about 9/11 bannine banks last august. just don't call him a geezer to his face. a satellite is out of control thousands of miles above the earth and before you say who cares let it just fly around, let me tell you this might threaten what you see on television. can you imagine not seeing all this? the owner of the satellite says it could wander into another satellite's orbit and disrupt cable tv reception across the u.s. so much for being workaholics. the company is working on a solution to the problem. we'll keep you posted. think about this next time you say yes to working late. a new report says overtime could kill you. researchers in europe found workers who put in ten or more hours a day have a 60% greater chance of heart attack from death -- and death from cardiovascular disease.
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>> come on out! justin bieber. >> look at those girls. bieber-mania shook up the "oprah winfrey show" between heart throb justin bieber creating the beatlesesque scene with the young girls in the audience for oprah's world's most talented kids competition. betty white on fire after her appearance on "snl" this past weekend. the same facebook group that campaigned for her to host "saturday night live" has started a new push to get white to host next year's oscars. fans are also calling for the 88-year-old entertainer to be included in the next edition of "dancing with the stars." and finally, a new bra that offers more than your usual amount of support. the latest fashion craze from japan is a bra that grows rice. it has two plastic pot halves in the front that can be folded together to form a whole pot. a water hose acts as a belt. a pair of gloves are attached to the bottom.
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the models say it is actually more comfortable than it looks. you know what? even if i hit the buzzer it was worth getting the rice bra in. how about that? a chance to get crucial information or a recipe for medical madness? the debate is raging over at home dna tests about to hit stores. then south carolina governor mark sanford tries to rekindle the affair that led to the downfall of his marriage and his political career. and fighting like cats and dogs, not at this home. we'll bring you our favorite animal videos of the day as we continue with msnbc on a wednesday. hey -- who's our best presentation guy? carl.
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i thought you said carl was our best presentation guy. [ worker ] well, he is. last week he told my team about fedex office print online for our presentations. we upload it to fedex office, then they print, bind, and ship it. the presentation looks good, right? yes, but -- you didn't actually bring carl with you. good morning! but i digress. [ male announcer ] we understand. you need presentations done right. and right now save 20% on all online printing purchases. visit fedex.com/print. host: could swching to geico all online printing purchases. 15% or more on car insurance? host: does elmer fudd have trouble with the letter r? elmer: shhhh, be very quiet; i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): ok cut!!!! uh...it's i'm hunting "rabbits," elmer. let's try that again. elmer: shhhh, i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): cuuuuut! rabbits. elmer: wabbits director (o/c): rabbits. elmer: wabbits. director (o/c): rabbits with an "r." elmer: aw...this diwector's starting to wub me the wong way. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
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the smell of freshly juiced wheat grass and hand pressed shirts. whatever scents fill your household, purina tidy cats scoop helps neutralize odors in multiple cat homes. purina tidy cats scoop. keep your home smelling like home. if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, you may also have very high triglycerides -- too much fat in the blood. it's a serious medical condition. lovaza, along with diet, effectively lowers very high triglycerides in adults but has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes. lovaza starts with omega-3 fish oil that's then purified and concentrated. it's the only omega-3 medication that's fda-approved. you can't get it at a health food store.
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lovaza isn't right for everyone. tell your doctor if you're allergic to fish, have other medical conditions and about any medications you're taking, especially those that may increase risk of bleeding. blood tests are needed before and during treatment. in some, ldl or bad cholesterol may increase. possible side effects include burping, infection, flu-like symptoms, upset stomach, and change in sense of taste. ask your doctor about lovaza, the prescription that starts in the sea. welcome back. at 43 minutes past the hour a former kindergarten teacher is now speaking out after being acquitted of sexually molesting three girls. tonya craft broke down in tears yesterday after a jury found her not guilty of 22 counts including child molestation and sexual battery. earlier on the "today" show craft also revealed her own daughter was one of her accusers and was forced to testify
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against her own mother. >> it absolutely broke my heart to see that my daughter had been pretty much indoctrinated to believe things that weren't true. and to just, to sit there i mean was obviously emotional and i sobbed. >> craft says now that the trial is over she is focused on getting back her two children whom she hasn't seen in nearly two years. if you could take an at home test to tell if you were genetically at risk for a life threatening disease would you use it? >> i would not. >> it's always better to be knowledgeable than have no idea. i think that information without some followup with some doctor or some research on your behalf would get you very much. >> well, beginning this week walgreens stores will begin selling at home dna tests at thousands of stores all over the country. depending on how much you pay you can find out if you're
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genetically predisposed to diseases, whether you can pass conditions on to your children or how your body might react to some drugs. the tests are not fda approved and there are concerns about their accuracy. art kaplan is the director of the center for bioethics at the university of pennsylvania and also writes a column on ethics for msnbc.com. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. is ignorance bliss here? there are two ways of looking at this, right? on one hand we could all become hy hypochondri hypochondriacs, get surgery we don't need, but on the other hand it could actually help. >> if you're in a family and you've got a history of breast cancer, many relatives, brothers, sisters, biological relatives that have the disease there is some case for you to go out and get a test. i'm not sure there is a case to go out and get a home test kit but you may want to talk to a doctor about getting to the right genetic test program. the problem right now is three things. one, we have not tested a lot of
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americans for relationships between their genes and their diseases so we only have a little snap shot. if you're indian american or japanese american i'm not sure we can tell you much about your risk factors. haven't tested a lot of those sub populations. secondly, the tests are interesting but don't give you predictive certainty. they just give you a little bit of worry risk if you will. third, for a lot of these diseases you aren't going to do anything anyway except maintain a healthy lifestyle. do that without getting a genetic test how does this work? you pay $20 to $30 for the initial test kit. >> you spit in a cup. >> you pay $437 for the results? crazy. >> you spit in the cup and send it off to the lab. now, if you want they'll send you a printout back and you can try and figure it out yourself. unlikely. then you'll pay them more money to get an interpretation and if you want to get counseled they do have counseling on the phone that's going to cost you more. you're probably talking hundreds
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of dollars here to really get somebody to try to interpret what this all means to you. but i'm going to say again for the most part not accurate enough now to really spend that money and for most of these things you're not going to do anything except to be told stop smoking or cut back on your drinking. go ahead and do that. it's good advice anyway. >> what if you are genetically predisposed as i mentioned breast cancer? is there some benefit you see to this down the road? >> there are some coming down the road. it's clear some drugs might help prevent breast cancer from recurring. we don't have that yet. there are people who consider surgery when in a family that has many cases of breast cancer. they sometimes have their breasts removed. but we're talking about the far extreme here of what we can do with genetic testing. basically, genetic testing is going to be great. there will be a time for home test kits probably 20 years from now. i think right now we're just seeing companies jump the gun to really try and tap into people's fears and worries and the general desire to be healthy.
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>> all right. thanks so much for your time. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. south carolina governor mark sanford trying to reunite with his argentina mistress. sanford acknowledged he spent last weekend in florida with his lover hoping to rekindle the affair that led to his divorce and also brought on a formal rebuke from south carolina lawmakers for the embarrassment to the state the purpose was obviously to see if something could be restarted on that front given the rather enormous geographic gulf between us and time will tell. i don't know if it will or won't. >> sanford said he owed it to the public to let them know he was in florida with his lover since he was being protected by the florida law enforcement officers. all right. moving on, our top three today sure to make you go, ah. the best animal videos of the day. we love this. number three comes to us from portland, oregon where a group of baby ducklings following their mother across the street, one of them fell through a sewer grate. a passing good samaritan you can see rushed to the rescue, pulled
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off the grate, grabbed the animals before they were swept away. leading them safely to a nearby pond. and they're off again. cute. at number two the always classic dog nursing kittens. this video comes from kntv our nbc station in san francisco. these kittens lost their mother and have turned to the family dog for nourishment and attention. but at number one a youtube video on jimmy kimmel show last night, the cutest dog growl you may ever hear. take a listen. [ growling ]
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welcome back. we want to take a look at some of your top stories on this wednesday afternoon. los angeles today became the nation's largest city to boycott arizona over their tough new law aimed at fighting illegal immigration. the l.a. city council approved sanctions that could include canceling some $8 million in
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current and existing contracts. l.a. must decide which contracts with arizona, the city can break without risking a lawsuit. in other news republicans will officially pick their presidential candidate in tampa. the gop picked the florida city for the site of their 2012 presidential convention. losing out were salt lake city and phoenix. the mothers of three american hikers detained in iran have been granted visas to visit their children. they hope the travel to tehran in the next week to visit their children in prison. iran has accused josh fatttal, shane bauer and sarah shourd on spying. the obama is considering a move to designate the pakistan taliban as a foreign terrorist organization. the group is believed to be connected to the attempted bombing, but no hard evidence has been found yet. the designation to allow the u.s. to freeze the group's assets and make it a crime it assist them. president obama held meetings with afghan president hamid karzai at the white house
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today. the two leaders held a joint press conference where they took tough questions from reporters who wanted to know exactly how they planned to deal with the growing taliban presence in neighboring pakistan. president obama said pakistan may now consider the taliban a greater threat than their traditional rival, india. >> the extremist organizations that had been allowed to congregate and use as a base, the frontier areas to then go into afghanistan, that that now threatens pakistan's sovereignty. >> nbc's mike viqueira live at the white house. >> reporter: good afternoon to you, jeff. >> a good deal of public discussion about the tension of president obama and karzai. >> reporter: a lot of interesting froints that east room press conference with the controversial leader afghan president hamid karzai.
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their military offensive and other offensives both in intelligence and military against those tribal areas where many of these militants are ploengtd we've heard a lot about them, going back and forth across the area. those two nations in inextricably tied as the president has half of the troop surge 30,000 that he announced just last december, and now in afghanistan with more to come as they prepare for a kandahar offensive. some time this summer against the taliban stronghold there in southern afghanistan. very interesting context here in meeting, jeff. you know about the war of words between american officials and hamid karzai. the president going to afghanistan, a surprised visit in late march, on the way there the national security adviser here at the white house spoke -- had some very tough words for hamid karzai. talked about the need to cleanup corruption. some time after the visit, hamid karzai struck back, he said i'm thinking of joining the taliban. today, very conciliatory words
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from both leaders here today as they move forward. this four-day visit by hamid karzai in the nation's capital. >> nbc's mike viqueira live at the white house. before the "dylan ratigan show" i want to show you a live picture of what's happening on the dow right now. it's fairly remarkable considering the great growth in the surge that we've seen up 158 points at this hour. that is our show for this wednesday. i'm jeff rossum. talks to jason chaffetz and whether he-mans it take on senator orrin hatch in 2012. see you tomorrow, bye-bye. [ male announcer ] crunch, wheat thins. that's what's gonna happen here. ♪ because you're tasty with toasty whole grain.
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media. why should sexuality matter for a supreme court justice? plus, running scared incumbents on both sides of the aisle in trouble after yet another lawmaker bites the dust in a party primary. and following, going gaga, how lady gaga covers, are now the hottest thing on the web. the show starts right now. all right good afternoon to you. in america today we're trying to explain the connection between the supreme court softball, who knew, and sexuality. the solicitor general of our country and nominee for the supreme court elena kagan hitting capitol hill today for a meet-and-greet with top senate leaders, pretty rational. we're guessing none of them asked the question that is dominating the blogosphere and the media, you gay? who insisted she's in fact straight but no way that was enough to end the debate. "the wall street journal" adding
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fuel to the fire by publishing a 17-year-old photo of kagan playing softball. now, they didn't pick her class photo from harvard. nor did they pick any of the thousands of pictures taken of her since she joined the obama administration over the past 12 months, they thought a photo of her at home plate nearly two decades ago would be the best. "the journal's" drawing up amusement. saying the headline might as well have read "lesbian or switch-hitter." no one, by the way, has asked the softball people about how they feel about this whole scandal. the gay and lesbian alliance calling the photo a clear illusion to her being gay. meantime for its part "the wall street journal" calls any connection "absurd." the white house also pushing back on any insinuation that kagan is a lesbian, which brings us to the real question. with so little to actually debate due to the lack of evidence on important legal issues in her own record, is making her sexuality an issue in the confirmation battle, a

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